Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Book blurb: After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan... and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary works of fiction in recent years.
I've heard great things about this book for years but the film version being made became an added incentive to get round to reading it (I promise not all the books I read are being made into films!), so here are my thoughts on it.
I have to admit that the beginning of the book didn't really capture my attention. The book begins with Piscine's life in India and how he came to be known as Pi. It describes life at the zoo where he lived with his family and also his decision to practise three religions all at once: Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The author also has a bit of a rant about it being better to be an atheist than agnostic, as by believing in nothing you believe something which I didn't really think was necessary to the story.
However, the story becomes a lot more interesting after the boat Pi was travelling on with his family has sunk. The descriptions of life at sea are fantastically vivid. My only criticism is that when Pi first realises his family may be dead I didn't feel any real emotional connection with the characters or their deaths. In other books, if a character dies I have been known to actually cry and it just didn't come anywhere close here.
Reading back on this review it probably sounds like I didn't enjoy it that much, but it really is an excellent book. The story is really captivating and makes you question what you believe in terms of morals, ethics and religion. The imagination of the writer is impressive, as is his ability to almost make you believe it really happened. I can't wait to see it brought to life in the film!
Overall, I would give this book 8.5 out of 10.